Gallbladder is situated just behind the liver in the upper right quadrant of the abdominal cavity. It looks like a small pear-shaped sac. Pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen can be due to an inflamed gallbladder (the condition is known as cholecystitis) or due to an infection in the organ. Most women are unaware of the gallbladder attack symptoms, and they generally ignore abdominal pain.
Signs and Symptoms
Most of the time, gallbladder diseases are misinterpreted as stomach disorders. Formation of gallstones is mainly responsible for cholecystitis and infection in the organ.
- Excessive burping, queasiness, belching
- Nausea, vomiting, and gas
- Chest pain in the right side
- Bitter fluid might come up in the mouth.
- Low blood pressure and a rigid abdomen indicate gangrenous gallbladder.
- Indigestion, diarrhea, fever, and loss of appetite suggest cholecystitis.
- Dull or excruciating pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen can be experienced. Severity of the pain would depend on the extent of inflammation.
- Pain in the back, or even pain in the shoulder blades can be experienced.
- Pain, especially after consumption of fatty dinners. Due to the dysfunction of the organ, the woman might develop an intolerance to fatty foods.
- Difficulty in walking or sitting straight, need to bend over while walking due to pain are some of the symptoms that indicate seriousness of the disease.
- Along with fever, nausea and vomiting, if the woman has jaundice and has lost weight, then the symptoms indicate development of cancer in the organ. Cancer is rarely detected at an early stage.
- During pregnancy, affected function of the organ may lead to severe abdominal pain, intolerance for fatty foods, itching all over the body without any rash, vomiting, loss of appetite, nausea, etc.
- Gallbladder disease in teens or teenage girls is rarely noticed. Teenagers generally suffer from milder forms of gallstone problems that might exhibit symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and fever.
Formation of gallstones can be confirmed with the help of various medical tests like endoscopic ultrasonography, magnetic resonance cholangio-pancreatography or MRCP, blood tests, X-rays, etc.
- Cholecystectomy or gallbladder surgery (removal of the organ) is suggested only in severe cases. Otherwise, the pain is lowered with the help of medicines and diet.
- Sometimes, cholesterol gallstones are dissolved with the help of orally taken medication. With disappearance of gallstones, pain and other symptoms also disappear.
- A naturally-occurring bile acid called ursodeoxycholic acid or ursodiol is used for medicinal treatment. There are some limitations to the use of ursodiol.
- Extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is also the method which is sometimes used for treating gallstones, especially those lodged in bile ducts.
- A heating pad or warm compresses can be used to get rid of the pain. Painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antacids can offer instant pain relief.
- Gallbladder flushing (cleansing) is done with the help of specially designed diet.
- Consumption of fresh pear juice, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and apple juice also help reduce the pain.
- Limiting the intake of fats, increasing the intake of fluids and liquids (including water) works great for such diseases.
- Performing exercises that promote weight loss is also essential to maintain normal weight. Regular exercise promotes smooth functioning of organs.
Women generally don't pay much attention to pain and abdominal discomfort, but they should keep it in mind that these can be the symptoms of a gallbladder disorder. Elderly women, diabetics, women who overeat, who are obese, who have a high fat intake are more likely to experience a gallbladder attack. It's better to be aware of these risk factors because forewarned is forearmed.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be substituted for the advice of a medical professional.